So - it's a collection of courses which you try in turn, chasing high scores. This is perhaps of a limited appeal. But, sensibly, it uses the web and has a top-score table for each course that automatically uploads when you play. This is, of course, a common enough trick now - but the specifics make it more interesting. For a start, for anyone in the chart, you can download their latest replay in a second. This is equally as useful for laughing at a mate's repeated attempt to jump a gap as it is to gawp at the insane freaks of nature at the top of the table. You can also, with a click, play a Ghost mode against anyone too - including yourself.
This absolutely fundamentally changes the game. On some of the harder tricks, you can simply not have a clue how you're meant to do it. By watching replays - which, helpfully, show the buttons they're pressing at any moment - you can pick up hints. But more importantly, you can pick up hints from anyone in the table. Even if you know how to do it, it's unlikely you're going to be able to pull off the somersaulting feats of the top ten. However, people nearer you, using a simpler approach to the track, are goldmines of information. The transparency of the ghost mode means that it's both competitive (I can beat these guys) and collaborative (ah - that's how he did it). Since you're able to form teams, you can create tight peer groups to examine rather than look at the entire list. Oh - and there's assorted achievements to unlock. The first one will be breaking all the bones in your character.
So it sounds like a wundergame, but there are a few problems. Firstly, while there's a team function to keep track of people, the size is limited. And there's no separate friend function - so people can only easily compare themselves to people in their own ten-man group. This is a shame, as you're also limited to one team. Just because you're in different teams doesn't mean that you're not friends and don't want to pay attention to their replays. When the game's so comprehensive in many ways, it's an odd oversight.
Then there's the problem of just what it is. It's radically punishing. You will fail and fail a lot, in that old-skool way. Of course "fail" is relative - on the hard courses, even if I'd have hundreds of checkpoint restarts along the way, I'd be impressed that I finished. There's no lives or anything artificial like that - there's just a really tricky thing you have to do with your bike that you can't quite work out. Or - worse - there's something you have worked out, but you can't quite execute. It's frustrating in a way that has me grunting and emitting strangled screams like no other game for years. Even the Easy courses... well, they're not that easy. Part of you wishes that the developer had put some effort into making really simple courses that just are fun for showing off or relaxing. Because, even if you're good, this isn't ever relaxing. Shift your weight wrong at any point, and it's head-over-handlebars time.
There's a few other minor things. This sort of thing calls out for a construction kit, which is on the developer's "maybe" list. It's got what my flatmate describes as "the most videogame music ever" - that is, crunchy-macho-guitar stuff. You so wish it had more of a sense of humour to go alongside the hilarious crashes and broken-bone counts.
So, with your excitement levels reduced a little with a splash of realism, I can go back to talking about the neat stuff that's been crammed in. It's not just plain old obstacle courses: wheelie and flip modes are a little self-explanatory - instead of speed, you're measured on the amount of time you spend with your front wheel raised and the number of the times you spin ludicrously in a full circle. These are on specially designed courses to challenge that skill-set. But, most impressively - if most difficult - there are the Dynamic levels. Here, rather than the courses being made of fixed objects, they're constructed of physics objects. Planks have to be hit to form makeshift bridges, barrels rolled to cross gaps, and so on. It is harder than you could possibly believe, but, simultaneously, just awesome to show off with.
Its sheer brutal nature keeps it away from the nine, but if this isn't in the Eurogamer Top 50 at the end of the year...well, it means that the rest of the Eurogamer guys haven't played the thing. And more fool them. The trial version is available from its website and you can watch some of the videos to get a sense of this glorious, ludicrous nonsense that could only be a videogame. It's part of a glorious, quiet revvvvolution. Fanservice mode on: Motorbikes!